Crushing inflation today – PDM’s protest after four months

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 01:00 PM, 8 Dec, 2021
Crushing inflation today – PDM’s protest after four months
File photo of PDM leaders.

The National Accountability Bureau chairman, ultimately, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee which comprises mostly the legislators from political parties opposed to the very existence of the anti-graft institution and want its disbandment without delay. 

This appearance of Javed Iqbal, who is a former Supreme Court judge of the Supreme Court, was like an appearance before a ‘court’ of known ‘enemies’. 

Now it will be seen whether the former judge gets justice from the ‘legislator-judges’. 

The parties like PML-N, PPP and JUI-F want the NAB dissolved because of its alleged discrimination against leaders of opposition parties. They think that the ruling party is settling scores with the opposition parties using the NAB as a tool. They allege that although many ruling PTI leaders are also involved in corruption cases they are not being touched. 

The NAB chairman negates this impression and insists that the national graft buster is evenhanded. 

On Tuesday (December 7), he told the PAC members that investigations are going on against various PTI leaders and that they would be taken to their logical conclusion. 

The NAB claims to have recovered more than Rs700 billion from various people over the past two decades. However, recently there was a controversy about the claim. 

It was alleged that only Rs five billion had been recovered by the NAB and the rest of the amount claimed by this institution was untraceable. 

The NAB said that the amount had been deposited with the Supreme Court. 

Now the NAB chairman will give the PAC members an in-camera briefing in the first week of January (next month). 

Without doubt all PAC members will come armed with very difficult questions for the NAB chief. And this will be the time for Justice Javed Iqbal to clear all misunderstandings about his institution. 

And in the light of his answers will the PAC members form opinions about the (f) utility of the NAB.  

The good news that came from Tuesday’s proceedings is that the legislators expressed their respect for the NAB chairman and the latter also acknowledged the supremacy of parliament. 

He said very frankly that in case he failed to satisfy the PAC he would leave the office and go home. 

It may be recalled here that the NAB chairman has already served out his four-year constitutional term and now the parliament has retained him till the appointment of his successor. 

The law ministry has already started the process for the appointment of a new NAB chief. 

The PAC meeting took place only a day after the opposition alliance – PDM’s summit was held under the chairmanship of Maulana Fazlur Rehman. 

The participants blasted the ruling party for its failure to rein in price hike that has made the living of the common man very difficult. 

They decided to go for a long march on Islamabad on March 23, the day on which Pakistan Resolution had been adopted in Lahore back in 1940. 

The grim situation painted by the PDM leaders and then their decision to stage a protest against it after four months is simply ridiculous, to say the least. This speaks a lot about their ‘efficiency’ as well as ‘sympathy’ for the millions crushed by unbearable inflation

About a month ago the PDM leaders had also decided to launch a “decisive” anti-government protest campaign, starting with a public meeting in Karachi on November 13 and culminating in a long march to Islamabad. 

The opposition alliance decided to stage protest rallies against the “unprecedented price-hike” in the country.  

In other words, the political leaders are today where they were a month ago – and the status quo would persist even after four months

The fact is that the political leaders have nothing to do with the problems of the common man, their rhetoric to the contrary, notwithstanding. 

They are just fooling the people for their political interests and to use them as fuel for their agenda. 

Many leaders of parties are billionaires and millionaires, without the slightest idea of what the common man is going through. 

Look at their modus operandi. 

PDM chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman tirelessly brands the national assembly as a product of the rigged 2018 election. He calls for immediate fresh balloting for the ‘survival’ of the country. 

At the same time, his son is a member of the very same rigged assembly, enjoying all benefits, privileges the legislators are entitled to. 

The same is the case with PML-N leadership. Shehbaz Sharif also regards the assembly as an outcome of manipulated elections – but is also the leader of the opposition in the same house. 

His son Hamza is also the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly. 

If the political leaders are really serious about doing something to control the price hike, they should think of calling an emergency conference of experts from all over the country. The participants should exchange views on measures needed to grapple with the problem.  

A special session of parliament can also serve the purpose.  

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.